Vietnamese- Style Fresh Spring Wraps

Rice wraps, or spring wraps, are one of my favorite things to do for summer get-togethers, but I also make them quite a bit at home. Unlike their Chinese counterparts, these rolls aren’t baked or fried, and so retain a fresh, crisp, light feel that is perfect for hot weather.

They’re also fun way to combine ingredients, and to use up little bits of things, too. Often I’ll just whip up one or two with the few handfuls of lettuce, small bit of fruit, or whatever other little leftovers I have on hand. While I often do savory versions with shrimp or shredded chicken, this is a sweeter version that uses mango, roasted red pepper, and my leftover mung bean sprouts. Another note is that the rice wraps themselves have less than 10 calories per sheet, which makes them quite a bit easier for people watching their weight to fit into their diet than bread.

You’ll need:

-Rice wraps. These can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores (even Kroger in this area has them).

-A shallow, flat-bottomed dish filled with cool water. It should be large enough for the rice wraps to lie flat.

-Your fillings.

How to:

1. Get your ingredients ready.

Things should be cut either in long strips that will fit into the wrap (3-4 inches is good) if it’s a  food that can be easily bitten through, or chopped into bite-size bits. You can make as many or as few of these as you want at a time, so measures of ingredients will vary.

To prep for these particular wraps, I peeled and chopped my mango, and roasted, peeled, and sliced the red pepper.

The easiest way I've found to deal with mango is to peel with a vegetable peeler, then slice off the pit and chop.

You can roast peppers on the grill (which imparts a smokey flavor) or in the broiler. Either way, the key to easy peeling and great sweetness is to let it char on each side.

2. Slide one sheet of rice wrap into the water, and let sit until soft and workable. This brand takes about a minute.

Make sure the sheet is submerged completely.

3. Remove sheet from water and lay on flat surface. I like to use a plate. Then, fill with ingredients.

Put colorful ingredients down first, as they're what will show on the top of your wrap once it's folded.

Lettuces, greens, and bean sprouts are excellent ways to really fill out your wrap.

4. Fold the ends of your wrap in, then roll the wrap around them like a burrito.

5. Put your wraps in the refrigerator until the stiffen up a bit. This also gives them time to seal themselves so they don’t fall apart when you’re eating them.

This is probably one of the worst pictures I've put up here, but I was having some camera issues. These are ready to go into the refrigerator to set up.

Serve chilled. I often serve with a sauce, which in this case was a Thai mango basil dipping sauce (which I have to admit to buying, and is actually what inspired these rolls).

You can fill rice wraps with almost anything, though I do recommend the ingredients be cool when you fill them.

A few of my favorite combos:

Thai peanut shrimp. Lime shrimp with bean sprouts, spinach, chopped peanuts, fresh basil. With a peanut-lime-chili dipping sauce.

Southwestern steak. Grilled steak in a southwestern marinade, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, green and red pepper, and cheddar jack cheese. Served with a barbecue dipping sauce.

-Tuna Salad. Tuna salad, spinach, red onion, grated carrot, chopped tomato. No dipping sauce.

-Curried Chicken. Curried chicken, mustard greens, fresh grated ginger. Served with a yogurt curry dipping sauce.

There are countless more I’ve done in the past, everything from layered tabouli-like salad wraps to cold pizza wraps, and I don’t think I’ve had a fail yet. Give them a try, and let me know what combos you come up with!


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